The typical sleep apnea patient often appears in our minds as an overweight, middle-aged to older man. While it’s true that many people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea fit this description, children and young adults can also suffer from the disease.
There are however, a few key differences between the sleep apnea your children may face. For instance, children are much more likely to experience behavioral problems, while adults usually deal with daytime drowsiness. For many kids too, the common cause of sleep apnea comes from an enlargement of the tonsils or adenoids (a part of the lymphatic system) rather than obesity.
While sleep apnea is a serious condition for anyone who suffers, it is especially important for children who are still developing mentally and physically to get the care they need. Untreated sleep apnea can cause your child to become sick more frequently and more seriously, affect growth, cognitive development, and as previously mentioned, behavior.
At a young age, sleep is particularly important to human development. Many studies done across the globe have shown this to be the case. In everything from weight gain and diabetes to learning and focus in school and daily life, sleep is the deciding factor.
For instance, growth hormones are primarily secreted during deep sleep. If suffering from sleep apnea, a deep sleep may never be achieved, potentially stunting your child’s growth. Sleep also protects kids from vascular damage and obesity while building up a strong immune system and attention span.
These are all critical aspects of healthy development for your child, and a good night of sleep is responsible for them all. If you are worried that your child, or anyone in your family, could be suffering from sleep apnea, schedule a visit with our office today.